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Help for Verbal Abuse: You Have To Reach Out

In the last blog, we established that you cannot control what your abuser says or does. If s/he is abusive, no amount of begging and pleading or outright love will make them be kind and sweet to you, their target. So, what can you do to stop verbal abuse?

There are a number of steps you can take to regain control of your thoughts, emotions and actions when facing abuse. One of them is reaching out to others. Reaching out to others covers a broad spectrum of behaviors from calling hotlines to receiving counseling from someone familiar with abusive situations.

Help for verbal abuse is out there, but you have to reach out for it. Don't go it alone. Isolation is the abuser's weapon - break it. Read this.Before we begin, I want to remind you that verbal abuse is domestic abuse. There has never been a case of domestic violence that did not begin with verbal abuse or one of verbal abuse’s insidious cousins (i.e. witholding). Verbal abuse is a sign of the domestic violence to come, and verbal abuse is “bad enough” to count as domestic violence on its own.

Help for Verbal Abuse: National Domestic Violence Hotline

We’ll start with the easiest option: the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Click the link or call 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). When you call the hotline, describe your situation. If you’re not sure you’re being abused, tell them so.

The trained volunteers are able to validate your suspicions and help you get a handle on what’s going on in your mind. They’ll talk about what you want to talk about, but a good question to ask is, “What can I do about the abuse?” That question opens a world of possibilities and you can choose a viable solution that could work for you.

Help for Verbal Abuse: Tell Your Friends

If your abuser hasn’t completely isolated you, begin sharing with your friends your feelings about the abuse in your life. Maybe you’ve spoken to them before about it but made apologies for your abuser or talked them and yourself into believing “it’s not that bad.” Don’t do that this time. Tell them how bad it is. Ask if you can go to their home for an hour or so if the situation becomes volatile at your house.

Help for Verbal Abuse: Find Community Resources

Contact the Department of Social Services or the specific domestic violence agency in your state. (You can find one at the NDVH website under the tab “Get Help” and then click “Help in Your Area”.) Make an appointment to speak with a counselor so you can find out what resources are available to you.

The counselor I spoke to helped me realize that leaving isn’t the only option. Although I did eventually leave, I was able to stay saner while living in that relationship because she educated me about options I hadn’t known existed. Remember, much of the domestic violence help is “secret” because victims need the secrecy to stay safe; once you’re identified as a victim, the veil of secrecy lifts.

Help for Verbal Abuse: Attend Domestic Violence Group Meetings

There will most likely be a domestic violence group meeting you can contact after reaching out to social services. There may be other domestic group meetings outside of social services. For example, if you’re in the military or a military dependent, there is help available through the military too (contact the base hospital).

Meeting real, live, speaking breathing people in a group or one-on-one setting is very important. Online friends are great and you can keep them; however, looking at another person in the face, hearing the emotion in their voice, seeing the feelings on their face and connecting with that person is of paramount importance.

You will be amazed at the emotions a group meeting elicits. I was all at once angry that my ex-husband treated me that way, angry at myself for allowing it, comforted by the empathy of the group, validated by the nods and smiles, strengthened by hearing the stories of how they escaped…on and on and on. You can’t get that without visiting with people in person. You may borrow their strength if you have none left. The group “gets it”.

Help for Verbal Abuse: Find a Great Counselor

Notice I said a “Great” counselor. I had two very different experiences with counselors. One was not helpful to my situation or my self-esteem; the other one empowered me without telling me what to do. Please find a counselor who is well-versed in domestic abuse.

Your number one question when calling around could be, “Do you have experience working with abuse victims?” If the counselor gives a roundabout answer or says “No”, then they are not the counselor for you.

Stopping Abuse is About Changing Your Mind

You’ll notice that no where in this post do I mention reaching out to your abuser. No where. You’ve reached out to your abuser enough. You know what you get when you go to them for support. Don’t bother telling them you are reaching out to others – chances are, they’ll talk you out of it or swing the hammer down so hard you’ll be afraid to reach out again for years.

It’s okay to keep some things to yourself. Reach out in private; this isn’t about the abuser, it is about your sanity and finding a safe place in your mind and heart from which to plant a seed.

How Do I Stop the Verbal Abuse? (Part 1)
Help for Verbal Abuse: You Have To Reach Out For It
Learn About Verbal Abuse So You Can Stop It (Part 3)
Set Personal Boundaries To Increase Self-Reliance (Part 4)
Develop An Exit Strategy And Safety Plan (Part 5)
The Signs of Verbal Abuse (Part 6)

You can find Kellie Jo Holly on her website, Amazon Authors, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

*Both women and men could be abusers or victims, so do not take my pronoun choices as an implication that one gender abuses and the other is victimized.

25 thoughts on “Help for Verbal Abuse: You Have To Reach Out”

  1. This has been a go to site for me. I am 36 years old mother of two beautiful children.  I live in sunny Miami Florida and I have a good job with the state. But with all that being said it still hasn't stop me from being emotionally, verbally, and mentally abused. I been with my abuser for 11 years. Of course at first its wonderful then the real person comes out. Now it has gotten worse, he is constantly accusing me of cheating, whether it's at home or work. I mean who would stay with someone if you thought they are constantly having sex! And when I say he accusing me I mean it is everyday.  It will start as soon as I get to work. He would start by sending text after text calling me every name a miserable person would call someone.  I save all the texts just in case he tries to hurt me or try to take my life. And if you think I'm being dramatic I have several texts right now from him stating he wants to kill me or shoot me. So I have sent all the texts to my storage so if that happened he could not get away with anything. I am so unhappy. I just want peace. I want things to stop but by the looks of it if I don't do something it going to be 11 more years of this misery or 6 feet underground.

    1. Hi MiamiGal,

      I’m so glad you find the site helpful, but am equally sorry to hear what you’re going through. Like you say, it sounds like a truly miserable relationship. The fact that you are keeping record of his threats is a good thing — you know you don’t deserve to be treated like this, and you’re fighting for the self that you know is still in there, despite the abuse you’re facing.

      Have you taken any of the steps outlined above? I know it can be terrifying to reach out, but it’s vital you seek some help. This sounds like a very dangerous domestic situation, not just for you but for your children. Is there someone you could turn to at work who is able to help you seek support and legal advice? http://thehotline.org is a good place to start.

      You must be an incredibly strong person to have maintained a good job and raised two kids in the midst of this abuse. Keep going. You can fight this.

  2. I’ve been in an verbally abusive marriage for 16 years and throughout those years I’ve often wondered if a part of what was happening was because of me.
    My husband’s favorite words to me are: Idiot-Are you —-Stupid—-Clown-he could do better, the list goes on and on.
    16 years ago I donated 1 of my Kidney’s to him as he was facing a lifetime on dialysis…he rubs this in my face saying I gave my Kidney just so I can take advantage of him!!
    I also point out to him that I never name call him…he said, ” of course not, you wouldn’t be that stupid…cause I’d throw you out.
    I feel helpless and I know in my heart that I could never live the rest of my days feeling lonely, and depressed!!!

  3. A male 67 years old dealing with a verbal abusive wife 13 years. Its getting worse every day now. Contemplating divorce no kids involved. What seemed to push it out of her control her grandson asked me over her to come visit over weekends. I wish I had been in this site earlier. She has no empathy no shame. She cares less who hears the abuse. Recently she charged me when I kept her from yelling over the party wall. The dinner party the street party but like I said before her grandson seemed to prefer me over her. The neighbors, friends and family understood it what seems before I did. Looks dire can’t take it any longer

  4. For so many years I have been isolated from friends. He did he things and I always work two jobs He control everything. He has always been very abusive. But lately its bad now he try to put my hair on fire, he keep saying that I am the c word. I was sexually abuse as a child and he said how much I enjoy it. No one would believe me only him it my word against him. I’m happy my girls don’t have husband like my ex husband. He know I have no one, and he lets me no one want me, I’m a whore, & the c word. He yell at me for everything and I should commit suicide, no one would miss you. He switches the story around so its my fault with the girls. I going to keep a journal and put it away and I going to get help

  5. I was being abused by my family and obviously friends for 20 years and its only been a week that I know what freedom really is. And sometimes I still feel lost and confused. But it was awful.

  6. It’s really sad, as I feel that the damage of verbal abuse is underestimated.

    I have now been out of an abusive relationship for several years now, however I am still at times traumatised by it. It’s definitely a distant memory and I no longer relieve it every day, however any time for some reason I m reminded of what I had to deal with, I am still confused as to what it was all about? And still wonder why I didn’t get out sooner?

    I think the thing about abusers, is that they are often also charmers, and by the time they are abusing you, you have already given them too much of yourself already to just walk away.

    I don’t think that unless you have experienced this for yourself anyone can realise how difficult it is.

    It takes a long time to reprogram yourself again, and an even longer time to practice this. By meeting new people and having other experiences, then this will dilute and help. Not everyone is an abuser, or womaniser, or a lier.

    I gave up trying to work out what it was all about, as I didnt have the problem. The only problem I had was why I put up with so much?

    I have now learned that there are lots of nice people in this world too, and it’s often a few people you never realised that were always there that are the most genuine, decent and worthwhile people to spend time with.

    I still have to trust myself, to trust that I can trust people. If I think what if this person turns out to be…..????!!! Then I cannot even start.

    So I have to switch off the need to overanalyses things and the hypervidgilence and just accept things for the pesent and now, and guess what the red flags ….. They are so obviously painful that you don’t have to worry about not seeing them, it’s the Other stuff that was always there that you need to look out for and put a stop to anything you don’t want to do.

    Hope you find your own way out with your journey of moving on.

    I ll repost at some stage when I be figured out the next bit.

    J

  7. My wife is extremely verbally abusive. She yells and cusses at me several times in a day, at least three days a week. And what I mean by cussing, she uses every curse word in existence. The counselors and friends that I have gone to haven’t been much helpful. They tend not to believe me even though I recorded things she has said. Its frustrating when you seek help, snd your friends tell you to stop talking negatively about your wife.

    1. Jon, perhaps you need new friends. I saw a quote the other day that said, “If your people just sit around and watch while you’re in pain, then they’re not your people.”

      Find a different therapist. There are therapists who are trained to help you. And call the NDVH (http://thehotline.org) for support and direction on where you can go locally for help.

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